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Updated: May 30, 2012 02:03 IST

It is work as usual for Alex Menon

Prafulla Das
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Alex Paul Menon
Alex Paul Menon

Presents charter of demands to a yielding Ramesh for checking Naxal menace

Amid persisting Maoist menace in the newly-created tribal-dominated Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, Collector Alex Paul Menon, who was abducted by Left wing extremists last month, is back at work.

When Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh came to visit the town on Tuesday, Mr. Menon took up with him several demands which, if fulfilled, could help tackle the growth of Maoists in the district.

Mr. Menon resumed duty on Monday after being off duty some weeks following his release after spending 13 days in Maoists custody.

Charter of demands

Mr. Ramesh was ready to respond to the requests Mr. Menon made in the presence of a large group of sarpanchs who had come from distant corners to interact with the Minister.

As soon as Mr. Menon sought the intervention of Mr. Ramesh for the construction of an 80-km-long national highway between Sukma and Konta Block of the district, Mr. Ramesh called up Union Road Transport and Highways Minister C.P. Joshi.

Mr. Joshi assured Mr. Ramesh that construction of the road could be divided into 32 packages in place of one so that local contractors could be engaged to do the job at a total cost of Rs. 160 crore as earmarked by the Centre.

Mr. Menon told the Minister that no big contractor was willing to take up the construction of the highway fearing Maoists.

Konta Block, where Mr. Menon was abducted, has a strong presence of Maoists. Official sources said about 70 per cent of the area were virtually under the control of Maoists, with Konta being the worst-affected.

At present, the district has 4000 police personnel on duty and half of them belong to the Central Reserve Police Force.

A senior police officer told Mr. Ramesh that the number of police forces should be increased by three times to affectively deal with Maoists, who were mostly local youths.

Out of the 3000-odd Maoists operating in the district, at least 1000 have arms.

Other requirements of the district, according to Mr. Menon, include the establishment of a livelihood training centre to prevent tribal youths from joining the Maoist fold, construction of about 30 more telecom towers and gram panchayat buildings and digging of more tube-wells to deal with the drinking water crisis.

Sarpanchs to tour Kerala, Sikkim

The sarpanchs' demands included visits to Kerala and Sikkim to see how effectively the panchayati raj institutions are working there.

Mr. Ramesh readily accepted the demand and asked Mr. Menon to make arrangements to send them in two different groups to Kerala and Sikkim at an early date. The expenses for the visits would be borne by the Rural Development Ministry.

The Sarpanchs also demanded timely payment of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme wages to check migration and establishment of more police stations to instil a sense of confidence among the locals.

Menon took up the 80-km NH between Sukma and Konta Block from where he was abducted

He also wanted inter alia a livelihood training centre for youth, digging of more tube-wells

@Kavia: Maoists are also Indians ! This is the reason why Army chief didn't spare their force for this job. Suppressing something by force will not work. Reaching them through the kind of work Mr Menon is doing is the only way and long lasting solution.

from:  Kiran
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 14:09 IST

Bravo Mr.Menon

from:  kalimuthu
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 14:06 IST

Naxalism is present in many states of the country. Infrastructure
development, political reform and most importantly focus from centre is
required to address it. Remember, its about the people there who are the
worst affected, if one needs to do real good then that can only happen
by doing some major work there.

from:  Meenakshi
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 11:22 IST

It is really "an irony' our people are not understanding the real ground situation behind Naxalism.I met one person in Delhi who was an MBBS student in one of the Medical College there,became a Naxalite only because of caste descrimination.Who is responsible for this ? What the military can do for this ? Discriminations,Poverty, illiteracy,underdevelopment,unemployment,suicide of farmers,and so on...Our people are living in a primitive socio-cultural system and our politians are depositing billions in Swiss Bank.Who is responsible for all these things ? What the military can do for this? They are also human beings. We are sitting idly in safe havens & doing nothing for the social problems and ordering poor,dedicated Indian military persons to go and kill the militants or to be killed by the militants..If you read the whole Indian history, it is an irony !! Really,"GOD CAN SAVE THIS COUNTRY"!

from:  s krishnan
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 11:13 IST

Naxalism thrives in the gap between demand and supply. We need bold bureaucrats like Alex Paul Menon to deliver at the grassroots. If Konta block in Sukma district is a liberated zone, it only means that the Government machinery was non-existent there for decades paving the way for Maoists to take over. Failure of Government machinery amounts to breakdown of constitutional mechanism and warrants declaration of an emergency. Going by that norm, a situation of emergency prevails in districts like Sukma where bureaucrats who dare to perform are kidnapped. Apart from fighting the armed naxalites, the alternative and inevitable mantra is to reach out, reform and rehabilitate. This is the only effective way to liberate the so-called liberated zones and merge the tribals with the mainstream of national work force. Be it Kashmir or North-East, Tribals or Dalits, there cannot be a meaningful or long-term solution unless the State responds and rises up to the expectations of the aggrieved.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 10:48 IST

It is an irony that the centre is not contemplating deployment of Army to handle the Naxal menace. A combination of development , strong arm tactics and winning hearts and minds of people is the right approach. They want the situation to skyrocket out of control and will finally have to deploy the army.On one side our PM considers Naxalism as the greatest threat to India as a nation while at the same time is shortsighted enough no to nip the propblem in the bud by deploying the army. Naxalism has gone beyond the control of the local police and PMF is quite evident. Why cant we deploy the army to ensure roads are built under their protection by central agencies ? Indian policy makers are known for their soft peddling. Why should the political class at Delhi be worried because they have are busy criticising and luring vote banks over discussions like polical cartooning in text books. God save this great country !

from:  Karishma Kavia, Jaipur
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 08:53 IST
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